The United States is sending a Patriot air defence missile system and a warship to West Asia amid increasing tensions with Iran, a Department of Defense statement said. The deployment was “in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests,” said the statement.

The USS Arlington, which is capable of transporting amphibious vehicles and aircraft, along with a Patriot air defence system, will be a part of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group. A United States B-52 bomber task force is also stationed at a base in Qatar.

The United States asserted that the activities were not meant to heighten tensions with Iran, but to show that Washington “was ready to defend US forces and interests in the region”. “The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime.”

The USS Arlington is a San Antonia-class warship that transports US marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft, and rotary aircraft. The ship has the capability to withstand land and sea assault and support other warfare missions, PTI reported.

In 2018, United States President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of a nuclear deal between America and other countries with Iran. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had agreed to limit sensitive nuclear activities and allow international inspectors in return for relief from sanctions.

On May 9, Trump announced a new set of sanctions on Iranian metals. Trump’s order came the day Iran announced that it had ceased to implement some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal. In April, the US had also blacklisted the Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran and designated it as a foreign terrorist group.